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Transcript: Calipari on bouncing back, coachability on SEC teleconference

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John Calipari has had a couple days to reflect on Saturday's loss to Tennessee and joined the Southeastern Conference Basketball Coaches Teleconference to talk about it. Here's what he had to say about his team in addition to some relevant quotes from a couple of his coaching brethren.

Coach Cal

On the upcoming week ...
"Two good teams. Vandy beats Texas A&M. They played Tennessee to two great games. (Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings) is doing a great job with his team, putting them in positions to have a chance to win every game they play. You look at Missouri's guard play, which means they have a chance any game they are in. They've got big people inside that can do damage, so they're a top-20 team. Two teams that are going to be rough games for us right now.'

On what a player's responsibility is to be "coachable" ...
"First of all, let's go to the context. During a game, on the bench, there are a lot of things I say that, if a guy is not listening, is not playing rough enough, isn't coming up with 50-50 balls, there's a lot of things I say. But this team is a team of a bunch of good guys. They want to do well. Some of this is overwhelming. We just lost our best player. And why a guy wouldn't listen or why he is going out and not doing what we ask him to do, we're just trying to say, 'Hey man, listen to what we're saying. You can't play the way you're playing.' But like I said, I've got a group of good kids. We are very young. We are treading new water. It wasn't like a postgame tirade. That's not what this was. This was during the game that we're talking about. Guys got to listen better."

On what he can do to get some of those guys to listen in the aftermath of something like Saturday ...
"First of all, it's one game. I told them after the game, I've had teams get beat up like this, but I want to see how you respond, how you come back. That's the measure of who you are. It's not that this doesn't happen occasionally. I think Ohio State just got smashed by somebody (Wisconsin). I've done this 20-something years. It's about your response. Do you take responsibility for how you're playing, and let's begin to understand how we have to play. But see, there is something added here. We just lost our best player with six, seven games to go. Now we have to go on the road, play an inspired Tennessee team who played great, as good as any team we've played this year. They played great, we're trying to figure out who we are, and it becomes what it becomes there. Now, we're coming back saying let's figure out how we have to play with this new group. We had to go through a game to figure it out. Some of the stuff we were running with the old team we are going to have to run a little different. It doesn't take away from what we've done before this, but now there is maybe things we have to do defensively that are different. We have been a good defensive team all year until this last game. And so now, OK, maybe we are going to have to do this a little different. But it's like hey guys, we're still where we want to be. You got bashed, now take responsibility and let's move on."

On what he is talking about changing on defense ...
"Well, I'm not going to tell you everything we're trying to do because what I'm trying to do is give this team the best opportunity to win games, to put themselves in a position when the game is winding down, we have our chances, and it's on both offense and defense. Aside from X, Y, Z, that's what we have to do and that's what we're trying to figure out. And it's obvious without Nerlens we are a little different. It doesn't mean we're 40 points different, but we're a little different, and we're going to have play stronger, we're going to have to cover for each other a little more because you can't just let people shoot layups, which is what happened last game."

On Jarrod Polson playing more going forward ...
"We got two practices here. We'll evaluate that and see what we do."

Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings

On this week's games ...
"We're coming off a pretty good performance against a good Texas A&M team on Saturday and it's a game I thought our team played pretty well in. We were happy to win that and now we know we've got a big challenge in front of us. Had a great game against Kentucky the first time around and would anticipate that's what we'll have again. But anyway, I know they're coming off of a disappointing game but I'm sure they'll be raring to go on Wednesday night. So we look forward to the challenge of going up there and playing and hopefully we can go and play well."

On what can be learned from UK's game against Tennessee about how UK will play without Noel ...
"I don't know. Tennessee would have beaten probably anyone in the country the way they played on Saturday. So I don't know how much you can really look into that. They still have really good players, still have a bunch of guys that are projected to be very high draft choices. So they lost a key guy for sure, but they're still very, very talented and very, very good. I'm sure that was a case of bad timing on Saturday and I'm sure they'll be a lot better by Wednesday."

On Rod Odom's emergence and the difference that has made ...
"It makes a difference for us when anybody plays well and I would say three out of the last four games, Rod's probably played pretty well for us. So we need for that to continue he certainly makes us a better team when he plays well like he did in the second half on Saturday against Texas A&M. So that's something that we need and we want and is necessary for our team to be as good as it can be."

On what his team has improved the most in recent weeks ...
"Oh gosh, I don't know. There are times when we're scoring the ball a little bit better. Maybe our offensive play has gotten somewhat better. I wouldn't call us an offensive juggernaut yet, but at times we're a little bit better offensively than maybe we were a month or two ago. I still think that the thing that's been consistent about us that's given us a chance to win has been our defense."

On Kentucky's offense and how it changes without Noel ...
"I can't really talk to you that much about it because I don't know. Obviously John would be the one to talk to about that. I don't think they ran a lot of plays for him to begin with and they didn't run a lot of plays for Anthony Davis and Anthony Davis still scored a lot of points against you. But again, they still have really good players and guys that can shoot and guys that can post and guys that can drive and they're good in transition. It's still a very potent offensive team even without Noel and he certainly is an outstanding player."

Florida head coach Billy Donovan

On Calipari using embarrassment over the loss to Tennessee as a motivating tool ...
"I didn't see the game, so it's hard for me to comment. I didn't see one second of it. We were obviously playing and then traveling. Listen, we played Arkansas a couple weeks ago and they played a great basketball game and had us down by a lot of points. The biggest thing is how you're motivating your team. Obviously John knows what he's doing, knows his team better than anybody, he's a heck of a coach and he understands the direction he needs to take the team. He understands roles, personnel and how guys need to play. I think more than anything else, to me the bottom line in all this stuff from game to game is: Are you getting better? You need to get better and I don't think we're any different or any other team in the country is any different. You want to get better and you want to improve however you do that. Whether it's through a difficult loss, if it's through guys being overconfident after a great win, trying to get them focused on where they need to improve and get better. If John feels like coming through that situation at Tennessee could be used as a motivating factor, I'm sure that he's got great reason to believe that and I think he'll get that point across to his team however he chooses to do that."

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